Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hello California, hello boat

We made it to California.  By design we took a longer route so we could enjoy a sampling of state and national parks along the way, and I'd estimate our total mileage at about 4,000.  The route alone mapped out to 3,600, and we spent 3 days driving around parks so I figure that added at least another 400.  It was a great trip, but we are both glad to be out of the truck.  Our mileage through the whole trip averaged to 12.8 MPG.  That might seem awful, but for anyone driving a full-size truck, and especially anyone who has towed a large heavy trailer, it's actually pretty darn good.  And other than the little dinghy dolly mishap before we departed, the trip went off with only one small snag - we left a bag in Jackson, WY.  But the hotel found it and we received it today via fed ex.  Problem solved.

Getting settled in here at Dana Point has been a bit of a whirl wind.  Our first projects have been to 1) find a place where we can store the trailer for the duration of our stay, and 2) get a few large items out of the trailer and on the boat while it is still close by.  Much of that was accomplished today, but the plans we made this morning where immediately foiled by an email received as I was leaving the hotel.

Sea Trial!  The guys were gearing up to take Tanglewood for a spin to test and exercise a number of things, and asked if we wanted to go along.  Well, YES.  So off we went for our maiden voyage.  It was all-in-all a successful trip with several issues confirmed to be fixed, and a few new ones discovered.  At this stage, if we are not finding issues, we probably aren't looking hard enough.  The trick is to flush them out as early as possible.  Some can be time consuming to fix, so the earlier you know about it the more time you have to solve it.

Happy owners

Out on maiden voyage

After that welcome diversion from our day's plan, we got back to it.  The big project for today was to get the dinghy launched and get the kayaks up on the boat and stowed.

As you may recall, the dingy rode out here in the back of our trailer.  To launch it required getting the dinghy out of the trailer, and getting it close to a crane or lift that can pick it up and lower it into the water.  Easier said than done.  There is a county-run marina here and they have a sling for launching boats, but it's set up for larger boats.  The slings are a fixed distance apart, and if you use it on too small a boat there is a risk that they will slip off the ends of the boat and you will end up on YouTube.  My boating/cruising goal in life is to not end up on YouTube, so this was a problem.  I suggested that we just run a line or two between the two slings to prevent them from splaying out, but you'd think I was asking the marina to commit murder.  It was completely unacceptable to even think of such a deviant action.  Back home it would have been done before the discussion even had a chance to start, but I guess things are different here, so we'll respect the local rules.

After much measuring and checking, the guys agreed our boat would fit OK, though there was great reluctance for anyone to make such a risky decision.  But it fit just fine, and within a few minutes the dinghy was in the water, fired up, and running.  It was the best $12 I've spent in a long time.  Laurie went off for a little ride while I drove the trailer back around to PAE's parking area and went to meet her at the boat.

Well, a few minutes went by, then quite a few, and I started to wonder where she was.  I finally called and it turns out she was towing someone who had capsized their boat and couldn't get it righted again.  Apparently boat after boat just went right past this guy and nobody offer to help.  Huh?  We're not used to that.  So Laurie towed the guy back to the beach, but when he tossed back the tow line, it went right into the prop and fouled it.  Now she was stuck, and of course nobody offered to help her either.  Huh?  Well, I was walking to the car to drive over and give a hand when she called to say she had freed the line and was back underway again.  So that's our tow and rescue story for the day.

Today's last project was the kayaks.  We realized that the easiest, most out-of-the-way place to store them was right on the boat in the kayak racks that we had bought and brought with us.  Now with the kayaks and dinghy out of the trailer there is tons of space and we can start organizing everything for the next month.

All this brings us back to storing the trailer.  For now we just have it parked near PAE's office but we shouldn't be there and it's just a matter of time before we get called on it.  The lot is nearly empty so we aren't in anybody's way, but I don't want to over stay our welcome.  I was able to find a local storage facility where we can keep the trailer, yet have free access 7 days a week.  With the big stuff out of the trailer, we can bring everything else in stages in the truck as we need it.  So in another day or so, off the trailer goes to the trailer hotel.


  1. Pretty exciting times eh, Peter? (BTW, loved the state-by-state review.)

  2. Wow, so much excitement getting something like that all set. It reminds us of getting Adirondack ready for the Great Loop. We've done some presentations about this and tell people if they're starting from scratch that it might take a year to study all the facets and buy all the stuff.

    We're in Rock Hall, MD where I'm having very poor business doing charters and "picnic cruises." Fun, what little of it there is. It's a nice town, though and a good place for me to park it while Sally spends much of the summer attending to her dad and picking up a few hours to still be able to speak the doctor language.

    I'm looking forward to your next move.

    Jeff & Sally

  3. Thanks for the note, Jeff. I’ve been watching your blog and wondering how things are going. I'm sure the charter business will pick up in time.

    I completely agree about the time needed to fully outfit a boat. I think this notion that you can pull away from the dock in a new boat that is 100% commissioned and outfitted is totally unrealistic. Or if you want that, then expect to spend close to a year commissioning and outfitting before you take delivery.

    We are focusing on making sure that the boat, as contracted and built by PAE, is complete and works. On top of that we are installing a very short list of additional items that we are certain we need/want and that can practically be done now without dragging out the process.

    Then we plan to use the boat, fine tune things, see what we really miss and need/want, and dial it in over then next year. I expect the list of what I think we want now, and the list of what we actually do over the next year will be quite different.

  4. Killing time, enjoying your blog. (Yes I do realize this entry is several years old, great read, nonetheless.)

    Sad to hear you do not want to end up on YouTube. Your knowledge and experience would produce an awesome YouTube Channel, I'm sure none of your YouTube appearances would be of the nature you were worried about launching the dingy!

    Thank you for documenting all of this, for us dreamers to enjoy.


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